TORONTO, May 7, 2012 /CNW/ - On Sunday, May 6, the SPARK Gala, an inspirational fundraising event hosted by the Children's Aid Foundation, successfully raised $400,000 to benefit disadvantaged children and youth living in the child welfare system. The proceeds raised will support the Ignite the Spark Fund, which provides many youth with opportunities to explore their interests in sports, arts and cultural activities. These types of programs are crucial to their personal growth and development, but are a rare experience for most and the fund makes a life-changing three-year commitment to support each youth in their chosen field.
"This year's Gala was a tremendous success", declared Andrea Weissman-Daniels, SPARK Gala Chair. "Thanks to our 500 patrons, donors and Gala sponsors, TELUS and BMO Financial Group, many more disadvantaged children and youth will now be provided with hope for the future and the chance to ignite their inner spark through life enhancing opportunities for skill development and self-discovery."
Andrea Weissman-Daniels and Mark Daniels founded the Ignite the Spark Fund and created the SPARK Gala last year, inspired by their own experience with their adopted daughter.
Guests gathered to enjoy an elegant brunch created by celebrity chef Mark McEwen and to celebrate at The Carlu in Toronto. Five "Luminaries" paid tribute to individuals who first ignited their inner spark: legendary guitarist, songwriter, performer and producer Randy Bachman (Music Luminary); World Figure Skating Champion Patrick Chan (Sports Luminary); FASHION Magazine's Editor-in-Chief Bernadette Morra (Fashion Luminary); actress and Top Chef Canada host Lisa Ray (Entertainer Luminary); and acclaimed gospel, jazz and blues singer Jackie Richardson (Vocal Arts Luminary).
The one-hour SPARK tribute show highlighted the remarkable success stories of the luminaries through video, song, dance and fashion runway segments. With musical direction by Joe Sealy, the production included performances by Jackie Richardson, Randy Bachman, Sistema Toronto and Sanskriti Arts, among others. Event photos, video and show highlights can be found online at www.ignitethespark.ca .
"At Children's Aid Foundation, we support Canada's most vulnerable children and youth and we fund programs that will transform their lives," said Len Gamache, President of Children's Aid Foundation. "The Ignite the Spark Fund helps kids heal and build the confidence they need for a more promising and successful future."
SPARK 2012 committee members, under the inspiring leadership of Andrea Weissman-Daniels and Mark Daniels, include: Karen Cole, Marc Garand, Erin Goldberg, Shauna Keen Daniels, Dr. Lisa Kellet, Toby Kruh, Heather Levy, Tu Ly, Catherine McDonald, Suzie Mukherjee, Jackie Poplack, Moe Razi, Jan Sampson, Robin Singer-Turack, and Aviva Zukerman Schure.
About the Children's Aid Foundation
One in every 25 children in Canada are at risk and need our help. Many suffer in poverty, while others have been victims of abuse and neglect. A staggering 76,000 of them live in foster homes or a residential facility. The mission of the Children's Aid Foundation is to fund programs that give them skills and hope for a promising future.
For further information:
Karen Lorenowicz, KL Strategic Communications, 416-347-9661, [email protected]